School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 3-8-Ming and his grandmother have a tradition of visiting the Wishing Tree each Lunar New Year. Their wishes are written on special paper, tied to an orange, and tossed up into the branches of the tree. Ming's grandmother cautions him to wish thoughtfully, and following her advice, he realizes the fulfillment of all of his wishes except for one very important one: that his grandmother recover from a grave illness. Many years pass before Ming returns to the tree. He comes to forgive it when a friend points out that it has granted the wish his grandmother had made for him every year-that he be happy. Now the paper he offers to the tree is not a wish but rather a note of thanks. Thong's narrative voice has a gentle and musical quality that will lure readers into the book's pages, as well as into the landscape of this lovely little corner of China. Children will see in fastidious detail the beautiful wishing paper with its Chinese symbols and English translations. The rendering of the people is also superb. The exquisite art is done on watercolor paper with acrylics, which results in an unusual and vivid effect. A template for wishing paper is included in the back of the book. The lessons and observations in The Wishing Tree are ageless, and the book offers many opportunities for discussion.-Corrina Austin, Locke's Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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The boy Ming is disappointed in the wishing tree introduced to him by his grandmother when the tree fails to give him his wish that his aged grandmother survive her illness. But after a time when he does not go to it anymore, he comes near it again when a group of friends invite him to go with them. In talking with his friends and a nearby vendor, Ming realizes that the tree granted his grandmother's greatest wish for him--that he be happy. The simple tale is based on a real tree in a village in Hong Kong. The author Thong with bright pictures by McLennan describe how the Chinese write their wishes on pieces of paper, and toss these into the branches of the tree. Following the tale, the author gives directions on how young readers can follow this practice for themselves with their own wishing tree.